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WHAT’S SO FUNNY:Return from the big apple

Ever since the days of Rip Van Winkle and “The Twilight Zone,” men have been returning to a place to find it mysteriously and irrevocably changed. Yesterday I came back home after what was to me a Van Winkle-esque interval to find it blessedly the same.

I’d been in New York and New Jersey for a month and a half, watching some gifted people make a movie. It was exhilarating but exhausting, and by the end of shooting, the time was stretching like taffy. The last day/night of filming ended shortly before 6 a.m. last Saturday.

While I was away, our dog Booker spent much of his time sitting in a corner of our back yard behind a small cinder block wall. He and I once found a lizard under the top cinder block, and ever since then he’s wanted to check under there about once an hour. But I’m the only one who ever accommodates him. Patti Jo feels that lifting the block a dozen times a day is over-indulgent.

Until last Sunday, nobody had turned over the cinder block for almost seven weeks. All the time I was away I pictured him out there, just his head visible, waiting, and gradually giving up hope.

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I knew whose fault it was, and I thought he might snub me when I came home. He had every right. I’d been gone longer than ever before — over half a dog year.

But we should all be forgiven as readily on Judgment Day; he met me at the airport with a thousand wags and a lick on the face. Soon we were out back, turning over that cinder block. There was a lizard under it, too. Booker was taken aback after so many weeks of inaction and it got away, which was OK with me, because it’s icky when they don’t.

The town looked the same, just how I like it. My car actually looked better because Katie had washed it for Father’s Day, sponging off six weeks of Laguna air.

Patti Jo was sincerely glad to see me because she has to prepare for the Sawdust Festival and she needs me at home. I do up to 20% of the work around here.

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Of course she may have been glad to see me because of my new aura of glamour. I’ve been on a movie set. I’ve been on location. I mean, I’m not one of those who parade their glitz credentials, but we filmed nine days in the Jersey City armory. ‘Nuff said, I think.

Meanwhile, I’m happy to be back.

Summer’s here and we’re about to be inundated with visitors. Parking spaces will be a thing of the past. That doesn’t bother me either. I’m home.

For now I even like moving the cinder block.


  • SHERWOOD KIRALY is a Laguna Beach resident. He has written four novels, three of which were critically acclaimed.

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